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Weber County, Utah Is ‘Fourth County In Four Months’ to Exit ‘Zuckbucks 2.0’ Group


Weber County has withdrawn from a left-wing dark money group that aims to influence local election operations, making it the second Utah locality to do so in recent weeks.

Previously designated as an active member, Weber County is no longer listed as a participating “center” on the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence’s website. As The Federalist previously reported, the Alliance is an $80 million venture launched in 2022 by left-wing nonprofits such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) to “systematically influence every aspect of election administration” and advance Democrat-backed voting practices in local election offices.

The Daily Signal first reported in January 2023 that Weber County had joined the coalition. The news came several months after the Alliance announced its list of 2023 participating offices in November 2022. Weber was noticeably not included in that original announcement.

During the 2020 election, CTCL and the Center for Election Innovation and Research collectively received hundreds of millions of dollars from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. These “Zuckbucks” were poured into local election offices in battleground states around the country to change how elections were administered, such as by expanding unsupervised election protocols like mail-in voting and the use of ballot drop boxes. To make matters worse, the grants were heavily skewed towards Democrat-majority counties, essentially making it a massive Democrat get-out-the-vote operation.

Utah received $295,611 in “Zuckbucks” during the 2020 contest, according to the Capital Research Center. A law prohibiting state election officials from “soliciting, accepting, or using funds donated” by private entities was signed into law by GOP Gov. Spencer Cox in March 2022.

Weber’s exit from the Alliance marks the second Utah county to withdrawal from the coalition in recent weeks. The Federalist first reported earlier this month that Cache County had also exited the left-wing dark money group.

Cache County Clerk David Benson informed the Alliance in a Feb. 12 email that his locality “no longer desires to participate” in the coalition, noting the locality “did not” reauthorize its membership for 2024 after its initial subscription to the program expired in December 2023. Benson separately told The Federalist the county’s Alliance membership was “a cost incurred by [his] predecessor that [he] did not think warranted renewal” and that “there was simply not enough value to justify the expense.”

Weber County Elections Director Lauren Shafer did not respond to The Federalist’s repeated requests for comment.

2023 report published by the Honest Elections Project (HEP) and John Locke Foundation noted how the Alliance originally sought to provide election offices with “scholarships” to cover membership costs, which would then be “converted into ‘credits’ that member offices [could] use to buy services from CTCL and other Alliance partners.” As HEP Executive Director Jason Snead noted in a previous interview with The Federalist, however, CTCL opted to shift its “original model to a fee-based membership model” as a way of skirting existing “Zuckbucks” bans.

“For jurisdictions that are permitted to receive grants, those fees are effectively waived. But jurisdictions that cannot receive private grants can still buy their way in for a relatively small sum, allowing the Alliance to spread its influence even in states where lawmakers have tried to prevent it,” Snead explained.

Speaking with The Federalist, Snead noted how Weber is now the “fourth county in four months” to quit the Alliance, “including two counties in North Carolina that left because it was too much of a burden in an election year.”

“That’s a powerful admission that the Alliance does not serve the interests of voters,” Snead said. “We need election officials focused on running elections and serving their constituents — not advancing the political agenda of left-wing groups like the Center for Tech and Civic Life.”

“‘Zuckbucks’ schemes like the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence have no place in American elections,” he added.

The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence did not respond to The Federalist’s repeated requests for comment.

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